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Camp Ripley guardsman recognized as 'Big Brother of the Year'

CAMP RIPLEY - For many service members of the Minnesota National Guard, dedication to the community is as high of a priority as any other mission. "We feel it is our duty, in our own communities, to ensure that our friends and neighbors are taken...

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CAMP RIPLEY - For many service members of the Minnesota National Guard, dedication to the community is as high of a priority as any other mission.

"We feel it is our duty, in our own communities, to ensure that our friends and neighbors are taken care of," said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Ryan Ross.

Ross, who has been an active member of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Minnesota for over three years as well as a member of the Minnesota National Guard, was recently recognized by the agency as "Big Brother of the Year" for the state of Minnesota.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Minnesota was established in 1969 to help youths realize their full potential by providing positive growth experiences through one-to-one mentoring relationships. These relationships help not only the youth but the mentor as well.

"What is amazing about being a Big Brother, is the effect it has on me as a person," said Ross. "Whether single or married, with a family or not, the relationships that are built are important to everyone in the community."

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Many volunteers become a Big Brother or Big Sister because they see a chance to offer mentorship, friendship and time. This idea of giving back fits perfectly with one of the Army's core-values which is "Selfless Service."

"We encourage all of our guard members to be involved with their communities. It is the essence of being a citizen-soldier," said Maj. John Donovan, public affairs officer for Camp Ripley.

"I was there to be able to give advice, or just listen - just being a friend," continued Ross. "Being a Big has been an extremely positive experience for me. I couldn't have asked for a better match," he added.

Big Brothers Big Sisters is looking for volunteers as more than 85 local children are waiting for a mentor. To learn how you can be the difference in the life of a child, call 320-253-1616 or visit www.bbbscentralmn.org .

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Related Topics: CAMP RIPLEY
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